Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Arrow Books (UK)
Release Date: 5th April 2012
Source: Amazon UK - Own Purchase
It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.
Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
The really bad thing about reviewing this book is the fact that if I am typing this down then I have finished the book, ugh, why did it have to end?
So this may give you a tiny clue that I loved Ready Player One, I was born in 1978 (yes I know I don't sound that old) so I am a child of all things eighties, I remember vividly all those crazy films from Back to the Future to War Games, I remember home video games systems becoming a big thing (I had an Atari, it was epic) and I also remember really bad cheesy rock bands with big fluffy hair.
Ready Player One embraces all of these things and really it is quite the walk down memory lane, it is of course not all about the eighties there are nods to popular fiction all the way up to the present time, it really my idea of a perfect read. Smart, funny, nerdy and exciting.
It is all about Wade a young man living in 2044, his home is a caravan in a stack of caravans, the world has gone to shit and he is living with his aunt in Oklahoma City, he escapes the drudgery of every day life by logging in to the OASIS, a virtual universe of possibilities.
The OASIS is where Wade spends all his time, he goes to school there, he meets his friends there, he does absolutely everything there, it really is an incredible place where you can be someone else if you choose, you create your avatar and then you go explore.
The creator of OASIS was James Halliday, was because he is dead, his legacy is the OASIS and he is not leaving it to his nearest and dearest, the man was a socially awkward loner, he is leaving it to the inhabitants of the OASIS, well there is a tiny catch.
The catch is he has hidden an Easter egg within the OASIS, the vast, immense, incredible OASIS, an Easter egg that will, when found give the lucky finder all of Halliday's fortune. Luckily Halliday left some clues but man they are a little on the hard side.
Wade wants to be the one who finds the egg but with hundreds of thousands of other people in on the game does he have a chance?
Incredibly through having a vast knowledge of all things Halliday, Wade manages to find the first of three keys that will lead him to the egg, he is propelled to stardom (well his avatar Parzival is) along with his allies Art3mis and Aech he goes all out to find the next two.
If only it was that easy, Wade discovers a huge corporation who want their filthy hands on that egg and they will stop at nothing to get it, Wade and his friends need to be on the lookout.
Ready Player One is just incredible, I know this review has just been the tip of the iceberg about what goes on but hopefully it has been enough of a tease for you to go and read this book.
Ernest Cline has such a way with bringing retro and futuristic and melting them together, the OASIS sounds incredible if a little scary, to be able to spend all day pretending you are in a film from your youth or buying your own spaceship modelled on Serenity, it is plain crazy!
I am so looking forward to what Cline has up his sleeve next, I have already read Armada and it was fantastic, he is going to have to dream big to follow these two up!